How to avoid overeating this Thanksgiving

Nov 23, 2021, 11:06 AM | Updated: 11:07 am
Thanksgiving dinner. Photo: Canva...
Thanksgiving dinner. Photo: Canva

With the big Thanksgiving meal just a few days away, many are gearing up to buckle down and unbuckle their belts. However, more often than not, that one big meal turns into leftovers… and many more big meals. 

Liz Hill, a dietician with Intermountain Health, spoke on Utah’s Morning News (UMN) with Amanda Dickson and Tim Hughes on Tuesday morning. She mentioned some ways to avoid overeating this holiday season. 

Is holiday weight gain unavoidable?

Hill told Utah’s Morning News (UMN) that most Americans tend to gain weight over the holidays. On average, Americans gain two pounds each holiday season. Hill says two pounds “doesn’t sound like much.” But warned, when people aren’t able to lose that weight then “in a decade, you’ve gained 20 pounds.”

Holiday weight gain can be a result of the kinds of foods people eat over the holidays. Hill said, eating food we don’t typically consume, or that may be a special treat at a certain time of year should be a focus. When individuals focus on enjoying and savoring the foods they don’t typically eat, they may be more in tune with their appetite. 

Be present during mealtime. 

“We often don’t take the time to actually tell if we are enjoying the food. We just might finish the entire piece of pie because that’s what we were served… A lot of us have the mentality of clearing our plates, not waisting food, or honestly, we might just be on autopilot.” 

Hill recommended people take time to check in with themselves while they are eating, to avoid the “autopilot” mode of consumption during meals. Instead of finishing whatever is in front of you, take time to consider when you might be full, she advised.

If you begin to feel uncomfortably full as you eat, stop there and recognize that you have gotten as much satisfaction as you’re going to get from whatever it is you’re eating. 

Focus on the company, not the calories. 

Finally, Hill recommended individuals focus on the people they are with this season, more than the food.

UMN host Amanda Dickson said this is her preferred method. She focuses on participating actively in the conversations happening at the table. When balancing eating and engaging conversation, Dickson noted, it’s easier to recognize when you become full. 

“If I eat too fast, I don’t even sense that I’m full until I’m so full that I’m in pain.”

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